the Records of
FIORANI RADIO PRODUCTIONS
Angelo and Rose Florey Fiorani operated two successive radio enterprises
spanning over 40 years in Pennsylvania's anthracite region. Beginning in
1933 they worked as "time brokers" and targeted Italian-Americans in the area.
In 1953, the Fioranis founded the Midway Broadcasting Company with its own
separate station and attracted a broad, general audience. In addition to
radio broadcasting, Mr. and Mrs. Fiorani were active in such local organizations
as the Scranton Civic Opera Guild, the Mothers' Assistance Fund, and the Victor
Alfieri Literary Society. The Fioranis and several other influential
Italian-American families in Scranton attended St. Lucy's Roman Catholic Church,
where Rose Fiorani's brothers, Monsignor Salvatore Florey and Reverend Myron
Florey, were pastors.
They began business in 1933 under the name Italian Reveries Broadcasting
Company in conjunction with Il Minatore Publishing Company. After a
disagreement with Lodovico Caminita, editor of Il Minatore and Italian
language announcer of "The Italian Hour," Angelo Fiorani took over the operation
and within a year changed the name to the Italo-American Broadcasting Company.
The Fiorani's bought airtime from station WGBI in Scranton, and resold time in
half and quarter-hour allotments and "spot" announcements to companies selling
products targeted for Italian-Americans in the region. Their role as "time
brokers" was the basis of the business for the first two decades.
Contracts with stations ran weekly or yearly, and the Fioranis picked up and
dropped stations as business increased and declined. At their peak in
1940, they had programs on three radio stations in Scranton (WGBI and WARM) and
Asserting to sponsors that most Italian immigrants could not read or write
Italian or English, the Fioranis maintained that Italian language radio was the
best means to reach this consumer group. The majority of the clients
solicited were producers or importers of Italian foodstuffs. During the
first two decades, their musical programming, conducted live with their own
orchestra, was targeted toward Italian-Americans. Most commercial
announcements, songs, and sketches were in Italian. The Fioranis'
fund-raising event, Italian-American festivals, trips to Rome and other areas in
Italy, Italian movie presentations, and the Carlo Buti Goodwill Tour in 1949
were also conducted to appeal to their regional Italian-American audience.
The Fioranis operated their business out of their home in Scranton for the
first seven years, then in 1940 rented an office in the Select Building in the
same city. In 1945, the company changed its name to Fiorani Radio
Productions and, in the following year, moved to the Connell Building, where the
business remained until 1953. During this period daughters Rosemary and
Eleanor participated as announcer and piano accompanist, respectively. The
Fioranis were described as "the only family with every member taking part in
radio" (Program, Carlo Buti Goodwill Tour, 1949).
In 1953, Angelo and Rose Fiorani founded a larger venture, Midway
Broadcasting Company, Inc. They no longer bought and sold blocks of time
but operated an entire station (WPTS). Oriented toward a broad audience,
WPTS was known as "The Family Station of Northeast Pennsylvania" and the "Golden
While the station was located in Pittston (83 Foote Avenue, Duryea Borough),
the Fioranis' home address (now 1000 Clay Avenue, Scranton) was still used on
the letterhead, showing a continued orientation toward a family-run business.
Angelo was the general manager and president, and Rose was the commercial
manager and treasurer. When Angelo died in 1972, Rose became president and
son-in-law Alphonse Castelli filled the position of general manager.
Eleanor Fiorani Castelli was the bookkeeper and accountant from 1958 to 1973.
Rosemary Fiorani Gallegher was the executive secretary and wrote copy and sold
airtime. The Midway Broadcasting Company, Inc. continued as a viable
business until January 1975.
The information in the following chronological outline is based on documents
in the collection. Some of the dates given are approximate, reflecting
inconsistencies in dates used by the Fioranis.
1901 March 10:Angelo Fiorani was born in Tarquinia, Italy. He came to
America at age three or four.
1902 June 9: Rose Florey was born in Scranton, Pa.
1925 June 14: Angelo Fiorani and Rose Florey were married in St. Lucy's
Roman Catholic Church, Scranton.
1926 August 17: The Fioranis' first child, Eleanor, was born.
1931 January 18: The Fioranis' second child, Rosemary, was born.
1933 March 19: The Italian Reveries Broadcasting Company was founded in
conjunction with Il Minatore Publishing Company, Inc. Angelo Fiorani was
the talent director, and Lodovico Caminita, editor of Il Minatore, was the
Italian language announcer. "The Italian Hour" aired Sundays, 9:00-10:00
p.m., on WGBI, Scranton. The mailing address was 105 South Chestnut
Avenue, Scranton, same as Il Minatore Publishing Company, Inc. (After
1940, the broadcasting company used March 19, 1932 as its founding date.)
1933 June 1: After a disagreement with Caminita, Fiorani took sole
ownership of the company. The business operated out of the Fioranis' home,
1125 St. Ann Street, Scranton.
1933 October: The name of the enterprise changed to the Italo-American
1934 August 26: Company sponsored an Italian-American Day Annual
Festival continued until 1940.
1935: The Fioranis moved to 1302 Bryn Mawr Street, Scranton, and
continued to operate the business from their home. A. Gioia and Brother,
manufacturers of Gioia Macaroni Products, signed a one-year contract for a
half-hour show on the "Italian-American Variety Program." This agreement
secured the success of the Fioranis' business.
1936: "Italian-American Variety Program" changed airtime to Sunday
afternoons, 2:15-4:00 p.m., on WGBI. Programs continued primarily in
Italian with Italian songs and sketches.
1937 May 2: Station WGBI joined Columbia Broadcasting System.
1937 May 23: Station WGBI increased its power from 500 to 1000 watts,
the most powerful in the area, according to Fiorani.
1937 June 17: The Fioranis began broadcasting "The Voice of Italy" on
Thursday evenings, 7:00-8:00 p.m., on WBAX in Wilkes-Barre. (The records
do not indicate when this program was discontinued.)
1938 November 13: The "Italian-American Variety Program" changed time
to Sunday mornings, 9:00-10:45 a.m., on WGBI.
1939 August 3: The Fioranis began broadcasting "The Italian Hour" on
Thursday evenings, 7:00-8:00 p.m., on WAZL in Hazelton.
1940 May: The business moved operations to an office in the Select
Building in Scranton.
1940 June: The Fioranis began broadcasting on Sunday afternoons,
12:00-1:30 p.m., and weekdays, 5:30-6:00 p.m., on WARM in Scranton.
1941: The Fioranis continued to operate programs on WGBI, WARM, and
WAZL totaling 10 hours per week.
1945: The name of the business was changed to Fiorani Radio
1946: The Fioranis moved their operations to Office 409 in the Connell
Building in Scranton. The records show a daily program, Fioranis' "Morning
Serenade," 7:00-8:00 a.m., in addition to the "Sunday Serenade" program on WARM.
Songs included both Italian and American tunes and were announced in English.
1947 May: Broadcasts began on WSCR in Scranton, daily 10:05-11:00 a.m.,
and Sunday, 12:00-1:45 p.m. Broadcasting stopped on WARM. The
records provide no information on the programs on WGBI and WAZL.
1949: Fiorani Radio Productions celebrated their 17th (actually 16th)
anniversary with a performance by Carlo Buti.
1952: The Fioranis broadcast from WCDL, city unknown, weekdays,
10:00-11:00 a.m., and Sunday, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
1952 February 3: Broadcasts began on WILK in Wilkes-Barre Sundays,
1953 June 21: Midway Broadcasting Company, Inc. was formed.
Angelo and Rose Fiorani were the major stockholders, along with L. Pagnotti and
E. Preate. Broadcasting hours were from sunrise to sunset daily on station
WPTS. The Operation employed 10-15 people, but family members held the
principal positions. Programming no longer specifically targeted
Italian-Americans and now appealed to the general public.
1972 July 17: Angelo Fiorani died. Following his death Rose
Fiorani became president, and son-in-law Alphonse Castelli took the position of
1975 January: The Midway Broadcasting Company, Inc. sold station WPTS.
The Fiorani Radio Production Records were donated to the Balch Institute in
1985 by Rose Florey Fiorani.
The papers were arranged and described by Carla Zimmerman under the
supervision of Balch Archivist David Sutton, Spring 1986.
The acquisition of this collection and the preparation of the register was
made possible in part by a grant from the Division of Research Programs of the
National Endowment for the Humanities, an independent Federal agency.
Separated from this accession are papers and artifacts of Rev. Myron Florey,
Monsignor Salvatore Florey, and Dr. Peter Florey, brothers of Rose Fiorani.
These are maintained as a separate collection at the Balch Institute.
Since the original accession in 1985, four additional accessions were made to
the Fiorani Radio Productions Records. They are as follows: 1988
(two boxes), 1991 (six boxes, one scrapbook, and an additional pile of loose
ledger sheets), and 1992 (first accession: nine boxes including two boxes of
phonograph records; second accession: six boxes and two scrapbooks). As of
this date, none of these materials have been processed. However,
preliminary inventories are available.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
The Fiorani Radio Productions Records, 1931-1975, contain 11.5 linear feet of
materials documenting Rose and Angelo Fiorani's 42 years in radio broadcasting.
The types of records include correspondence, advertisements, program schedules
and scripts, savings passbooks, bills and receipts, tax returns, fan mail, and
souvenir programs of special events. Personal letters, some business
correspondence, and a majority of the advertisements are in Italian.
However, many of the advertisements have English translations, and most of the
business correspondence is in English.
The advertising account files in Series III make up almost half of the
collection. They include correspondence between the Fioranis and clients,
advertisements for the clients' products, and, in a few cases, the client's
contracts for airtime. They reflect one of the most important aspects of
ethnic radio broadcasting, namely, the targeting of a specific ethnic audience.
This was accomplished by the language spoken, the entertainment provided, the
rhetoric used, and often the types of goods and services advertised. The
advertising account files also provide information on both the sales approaches
that the Fioranis used and on other business interactions. The latter
material is perhaps of equal importance in understanding the nature of ethnic
radio and the uses of broadcasting at the time.
The programming schedules and sketches in Series IV span the years from 1935
to 1951 and depict the early orientation toward Italian-Americans. The
records also reveal a gradual change from this exclusive appeal to one that
includes a general audience. Early programming in the 1930's consisted of
Italian music broadcast live, with Italian-American artists and an orchestra
conducted by an Italian maestro. During the 1940s the Fioranis began using
recorded songs and included American and Latin American tunes. Varying
types of music were designated by the clients for their products. For
example, at least one military song was played during each Planters Nut and
Chocolate Company program, and Torino Brand Products sponsored three Carlo Buti
tunes on Sundays in 1944. By the 1940s, introductions were made in
English, and Italian and Spanish song titles were translated.
Apart from the business of radio broadcasting, the records show the Fioranis'
use of personal contacts and radio resources to promote various community
organizations to which they belonged. The Fioranis' often provided airtime
for announcing events of civic and religious groups. As chairman of the
Scranton Civic Opera Guild, Angelo Fiorani arranged performance engagements
using connections made through radio programming. These files and the
souvenir programs of the Italian-American festivals in Series VI provide a kind
of register of prominent Italians in the Scranton area.
The records for the earlier years of the business are marked by a
predominance of advertising and programming material but contain relatively few
significant financial records. The opposite holds true for the later
years. This imbalance may, in part, reflect the difference between the
earlier live broadcasting, which necessitated written programs, versus the later
use of recorded messages and entertainment and ad-lib monologue. These
gaps hinder a complete reconstruction of the changes in Fiorani Radio
Productions over time.
Over ninety percent of the collection was on highly acidic pulp paper.
For conservation purposes, these items were photocopied onto acid-free, bond
paper, and the originals were discarded.
Manuscript materials related to Fiorani Radio Productions Records include the
Vincent Russoniello Papers at the Balch Institute Library. For information
on the history of radio broadcasting see: Erik Barnouw, A History of
Broadcasting in the United States. 3 vols. Cambridge: Oxford University
The Fiorani Radio Productions Records are organized into eight series which
reflect the operations of the broadcasting business and the couple's activities
in the community. The series are: General Papers, Financial Records,
Advertising Accounts, Programming, Fan Mail, Special Projects, Midway
Broadcasting Company, Personal Papers, and Ephemera. Arrangement within
each series varies according to record type and is described below.
SERIES I: GENERAL PAPERS 1933-1959, 2 1/2 inches, 1 box.
Arrangement: correspondence is arranged chronologically. Other files are
grouped according to subject and relative importance.
This series contains background information on the basic operation of the
Fioranis' business. The general correspondence file includes letters that
do not directly relate to advertising, fan mail, or special projects. In
this folder are miscellaneous inquiries and correspondence on such topics as
competitors, talent, transcriptions, personnel, and gasoline rationing. A
newspaper article dated 1947 announces the Fiorani's new broadcasts on WSCR and
briefly mentions their accomplishments. Angelo Fiorani's account of the
Italo-American Broadcasting Company and the changes that occurred over time is
presented in a talk at a career forum in 1947.
SERIES II: FINANCIAL PAPERS 1933-1959, 10 inches, 2 boxes.
Financial records for the first two decades of the Fioranis' venture are few
and consist predominantly of bills and receipts. Other items are a
passbook and canceled checks of the Italian Reveries Broadcasting Company and a
passbook from the first three years of the Italo-American Broadcasting Company.
SERIES IV: PROGRAMMING, 1935-1956, 1 1/2 linear feet, 4 boxes.
Arrangement: files are arranged according to subject. There is an
approximate chronological order within subjects.
The majority of records in this series is schedules ("music continuities")
for programs between 1937 and 1951. The remaining files include comic and
dramatic sketches, political speeches and announcements, and correspondence
between the Fioranis and the station managers
SERIES V: FAN MAIL, 1933-1953, 5 inches, 1 box. Arrangement:
Series V contains letters and postcards from listeners, most requesting songs
for special occasions.
SERIES III: ADVERTISING ACCOUNTS 1933-1952, 4 1/2 linear feet, 11
boxes. Arrangement: folders are arranged alphabetically by advertising
client. Correspondence and advertisements within these folders are
arranged chronologically. Other files are grouped by subject.
This series contains files on advertising clients for the first ten years of
the Fioranis' business. Included in these files are correspondence to and
from Fiorani, advertisements for the product or service, and occasionally
printed materials. The amount of correspondence and advertisements varies
from company to company. In addition to files on advertising clients, one
folder contains correspondence between the Fioranis and prospective clients for
the years 1934-1943, 1946.
SERIES VI: SPECIAL PROJECTS, 1933-1953, 5 inches, 1 box.
Arrangement: approximately chronological by project. Within each project's
folder, items are grouped as follows: correspondence, publicity, financial, and
This series holds files on events and performances sponsored by the Fioranis'
broadcasting company. Projects include Italian-American outdoor festivals,
presentations of Italian movies, trips to Rome and other areas in Italy, and
performances by the Blind Concert Artist and the Carlo Buti Goodwill Tour in
SERIES VII: MIDWAY BROADCASTING COMPANY, 1953-1975, 10 inches, 2 boxes.
Arrangement: files are arranged by type of financial record. Within each
category, folders are arranged chronologically, except for the advertising
accounts, which are alphabetical by advertising client.
This series contains records of the Midway Broadcasting Company, a
corporation separate from the Fioranis' other radio ventures. Almost all
are financial records covering the life of the operation. They include
annual reports to the Federal Communications Commission, financial statements,
tax returns, payroll accounts, and advertising accounts. Non-financial
items include fan mail and a newspaper advertisement. Daily program logs
and daily transmitter logs are oversize and are located in Box 26.
SERIES VIII: PERSONAL PAPERS, 1931-1953, 7 inches, 2 boxes.
Arrangement: files are arranged alphabetically by organization. Items
within the folders are arranged chronologically.
This series holds correspondence and other items related to the various
ethnic, civic, fraternal, welfare, religious, and musical organizations to which
the Fioranis belonged. Over half of these records are of the Scranton
Civic Opera Guild. Angelo Fiorani was general chairman and Rose Fiorani's
brother, Msgr. Salvatore Florey, was the honorary chairman of the organization
for several years. The Fioranis were also involved in the local Mothers'
Assistance Fund, the Scranton Diocesan Council of the National Council of
Catholic Women, and the Victor Alfieri Literary Society. Few records exist
for these organizations.
SERIES IX: EPHEMERA; 1934-1949, 1970-1971, undated; 2 1/4 linear feet,
2 boxes. Arrangement: files are arranged according to subject and relative
This grouping contains miscellaneous items which are indirectly related to
the Fioranis' business and organizational activities. The material
includes printed material on competing broadcasting companies, programs of
concerts and dinners attended by the Fioranis, and mailing lists. Also in
this series are oversize materials such as the daily program and daily
transmitter logs, broadsides, newspaper clippings, and theater seating charts.
The box list of the Register of the Records of Fiorani Radio Productions is
twenty pages long and is available upon request. The preliminary
inventories of the subsequent additions to the collection total fifteen pages in
length. The charge is $0.25 per page, in addition to $2.50 for shipping